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Voiceprint BIPA case filed against Cerence. Plaintiffs include a minor riding in a car

Voiceprint BIPA case filed against Cerence. Plaintiffs include a minor riding in a car

A voice recognition software maker in the auto industry has been sued in the U.S. state of Illinois for allegedly collecting the voiceprints of a minor and her guardian in violation of biometric privacy law.

Voice biometrics software maker Cerence is the defendant. The plaintiffs, Carlos Pena and a minor identified only as A.P., have requested class action status before a jury. They are asking for the maximum compensation allowed by Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.

In court documents, the plaintiffs say Cerence’s voice recognition software in a car they were traveling in recorded, analyzed and stored their voiceprints. It was a feature of the car, enabling riders to control some cabin functions without their hands.

But Cerence did not get express consent from the pair to do that, nor did the company tell them how their voiceprints would be managed, all of which is required by BIPA.

The case began in a circuit court in Cook County, Ill., but was moved to the federal district court for northern Illinois April 28, 2023.

The federal putative class action (1:23-cv-02667) was not available at deadline. The information here was gleaned from the preceding Cook County case, number 2023CH02866.

BIPA wins for defendants have been few with a number of companies just settling. The alternative is facing the prospect of very expensive damages.

Predictably, the state legislature is starting to stir, with some politicians talking about defanging the landmark law.

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